Thriller · Uncategorized

Does humour make a horror story not horror?

One of my favourite horror movies is American Werewolf in London and a lot of it has to do with the whole black humour thing.
Now one reader suggests to me that because I have a fair bit of humour in my vampire novel, Late Bite, that I shouldn’t classify it as horror.
Huh?

Late Bite2 cover

Late Bite’s got more bloodsucking deaths than Bram Stoker had in the original Dracula but you aren’t witness to most of the blood draining. I aimed for laughs – the kind of nervous pee-your-pants sort.

I borrowed the style from 1970s TV series, Kolchak – The Night Stalker.
The less than intrepid reporter did the X-Files thing but instead of heroic Scully and Muldar, Kolchak screamed like a Valley Girl and ran like hell whenever the demon/mummy/vampire/ghost rose from the dead.
I made my vamp very personable and a social media star. He’s even charming, if you don’t mind the bad breath.
So, the reader suggested I promote it as horror for those who don’t like horror.
My thinking is this: Why do we like horror? For the same reason we like to go on a rollercoaster. It’s a safe, near-death experience. We like the dark side as long as it’s entertaining.
Our human nature demands we take risks. Getting into a thriller or horror novel, jumping on a midway ride, or watching the gore on the big screen gives us pseudo-danger.
What’s the general reaction after some creature makes us jump in a theatre? Usually it’s laughter or at least a wave of relief that it was just make-believe.

I’m also classifying my just-released novel – Gravity Games – as horror but as a secondary genre. It’s primary genre is a foodie thriller. Celebrity chef Nathan Sherlock helps the FBI hunt down terrorists on the side. The horror? It smacks of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and has a couple very dark individuals doing diabolic things to people.

 

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